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“There was no way to treat all of the established patients,” she said.

And with the veterinarian shortages, several receptionists, assistants and a practice director have also left the clinic.

“Pandemic stress, constant tension and anxiety combined with rude, sometimes downright aggressive behavior, and unrealistic expectations from some customers have caused many employees to leave the veterinary field entirely,” Stephens said.

She wants to make people aware of the “enormous degree of harm that screams a receptionist, throwing a payment on the ground for an assistant to pick up, threatening to harm when advised to seek treatment in the emergency room”, said Stephens said.

Some people even told staff that if their pet died it was all their fault and accused them of not caring about the animals, Stephens said, “damaging the whole vet team.”

“These interactions happen on a regular basis. Please stop and think about the impact of your words, ”she said. “Reacting with anger and frustration doesn’t help.”

Customers who yell at employees, hang up a receptionist angrily, or accuse staff of not caring are given “their medical records,” Stephens said, officially severing the veterinary care relationship with the Cowlitz Animal Clinic.

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